Elizabeth Reyes’ Romero:
Romero (The Moreno Brothers series #4)
by Elizabeth Reyes
4.7 stars – 20 Reviews
Kindle Price: $2.99
Text-to-Speech and Lending: Enabled
Here’s the set-up:
Prim and proper middle school teacher Isabel Montenegro always runs the opposite direction from men like Ramon Romero. A foul-mouthed, uneducated, loose cannon has no place in her careful plans. But instead of running away, Isabel is completely captivated. The intensity of his nature, while a bit daunting, mesmerizes her in ways she can’t begin to understand. She’s unwilling to walk away—even when her instincts are screaming at her to run.Romero has no idea what he’s getting himself into when he first kisses Isabel. Shocked at the passion she invokes in him, he believes he can keep his usual short fuse under wraps. Falling fast and hard for someone so flawlessly sweet only makes him more aware that he’s far from perfect. If she is ever witness to his biggest imperfection, he’s sure she’ll bail. But when her meddling sister does the worst thing imaginable—bring other men between him and his Izzy—that fuse is lit and all bets are off. Adult Contemporary romance.
The author hopes you will enjoy this free excerpt:
No one else
Waking up next to Isabel felt like something Romero had been doing forever. He couldn’t even imagine not waking without her in his arms anymore. He spooned her closely to him, kissing her cheek. She didn’t open her eyes but the corner of her lips rose ever so slightly. He smiled and whispered, “Don’t wake up.” To which she immediately opened her eyes and he frowned. “Izzy, you did just the opposite.”
“I was already awake.” She turned her body around to face him. “My eyes were just resting.”
“But it’s Saturday, you don’t have to get up this early.”
“Actually I do. Remember? I have to go in for a few hours and do some campaigning for my dad.”
Romero tried to hide his irritation as she sat up. Thoughts of Jacob were immediately on his mind. She said he’d be helping out, but he knew there was no way she’d know when, where or how. He’d already told himself he wasn’t letting Pat or Jacob be the cause of any friction between him and Isabel. They just weren’t worth it.
He ran a finger down her bare back, wondering if even in the winter they’d still wake up naked. “I love waking up next to you, baby.”
She turned to him. “I love it, too.”
He stared at her, the words at the tip of his mouth. Then she said them. “Why don’t you just move in already?”
Never in his life would he have imagined hearing those words from a girl would bring so much joy. He sat up. “Are you serious?”
She laughed. “You may as well. You’re always here anyway.” She caressed his face with her hand. “And I’ve been dreading hearing you say that you won’t or can’t stay some night.”
He kissed her. God, she really was perfect. “Trust me. I wasn’t planning on saying that ever again. I just wasn’t sure how you’d feel about making it official.”
She smiled widely. “Then it’s official. You’re now my roomie.”
He pulled her down next to him, wrapping his arms around her warm naked body. “Oh, I’m way more than your roomie, and don’t you forget it.”
She giggled, squirming away. “No, no, babe. I don’t have time right now. I’m already late.” She pouted, obviously seeing the disappointment in his face. “But you’re welcome to join me.”
Romero knew exactly what that meant—quickie. He’d take it. When she got out of bed he chased her to the shower. He could hardly believe this is what life was going to be like from here on.
Gary Foster was a no-nonsense, let’s get to it, type of man. Isabel saw it the moment she arrived at the campaign headquarters. His only response to her telling him her name was: “You’re late.”
Her shower with Romero had gone on a little longer than she anticipated, but it was oh, so worth it. Even if it meant getting the stink eye from Gary, her legs were still weak. “I know. I’m sorry, but I’m here now. What do you need me to do?”
He picked up a clipboard. “Lets see here… Isabel.” His eyes scanned the paper on the clipboard.
Isabel glanced around and saw Jacob was already there. He was out of uniform, in a pair of jeans and wore a “Montenegro for Mayor” t-shirt. Everyone else wore the same t-shirt and she wondered why she hadn’t been given one. Then she remembered. She was late.
He looked so different out of uniform. More relaxed. Jacob smiled when he saw her and she felt her cheeks warm because he caught her checking him out.
“Looks like you have flyer duty today.” He flipped through the pages on the clipboard. “Now let’s see where you’re headed and who you’re partnered up with.”
As soon as he said that, she knew exactly who she’d be partnered up with. She should’ve seen something like this coming. “Why do I need a partner?”
Gary looked up at her then back at the clipboard. “We never send anyone out alone—safety reasons—my rule.”
Isabel took a deep breath. She was sure her sister knew perfectly well about this rule of his, before she ever came over to talk to her. How was she supposed to get mad at her now? Her sister had made it clear what she was up to. Isabel just hadn’t anticipated how cunning Pat would be about this.
Gary glanced around then motioned for Jacob to come over. She knew it. “You and the soon-to-be Lieutenant Commander are headed to the mall. Your sister hooked you up. At least you won’t be in the hot sun. And you get a Navy man to escort your around all day.”
“Well, just until you get all the flyers passed out.” He pointed to a mountain of boxes full of flyers on a table. “You two can handle this.” Jacob joined them and Gary turned to him. “Isn’t that right, Commander?” Gary grinned. “You two can handle passing these little boxes of flyers out today right?”
Jacob smiled. “Of course. And call me Jacob.”
“Alright, Jacob. You and Isabel here are headed to the mall.”
Gary went over the mall’s policy on passing out flyers, a do-and-don’t list and they were on their way. “We can go in my car,” Jacob suggested. “Why take two?”
Isabel hesitated. “Once we’re done we can just go, right? If I take my car I can go straight home from there.”
Jacob shrugged, opening the trunk to his car. “Which way do you live?”
Without thinking, she pointed.
“Well, then you’ll have to come by here anyway. I can just bring you back to get your car.”
With her mind muddled, Isabel couldn’t think of an excuse not to fast enough. So she slumped her shoulders and gave in. Romero would be furious—knowing this was all Pat’s doing again. But this was strictly business and he had to know he had nothing to worry about. She was crazy about him.
After hours of walking from door to door at the mall, requesting permission to post their flyer on the windows of their stores, Isabel was pooped. She never realized how big and just how many stores were in the mall. She was shocked at how rude some shop owners could be, too.
“You getting hungry?” Jacob asked.
She was, but she wasn’t looking forward to sitting and talking to him. Up until then, their conversations had all been about the campaign. There had also been some small talk about her work, and how she had a meeting set up with the union to try to persuade them to endorse her dad. Lunch would most likely go a more personal direction. Even though she knew she was doing nothing wrong, she was certain telling Romero that she’d spent most of her day with Jacob was going to be uncomfortable at the very least. But telling him they’d also had a long lunch together would only make it worse.
One thing was for sure, she’d be talking to her sister about this again. The thought of spending time around Jacob had seemed harmless enough, but actually doing it felt much different. “Yeah, I could go for a bite of something.”
They walked past Frisco’s. Isabel didn’t even look in that direction. No way were they eating there. She and Romero had gone back a few times since their first dinner together. As far as she was concerned, that was their place now. She didn’t know it then, but in hindsight, that’s the day she’d fallen for him. He’d melted her with his smile the entire night, but when he told her he’d been there two weeks in a row hoping to run into her, that’s what did it. That’s why the next night at the game, she was helpless to even try fighting off his kisses. She’d been putty in his hands ever since.
“I heard the Brazilian steak house here is pretty good.”
No way was she doing a fancy restaurant with him. “I’d rather just grab something from the food court if you don’t mind. It is Saturday and I’d like to get this over with and out of here as soon as possible.”
He raised an eyebrow. “Big plans tonight?”
Not really. Even though she wasn’t looking forward to telling Romero about who’d she’d spent her day with, she was anxious to get home to him. Home. She thought of their conversation that morning. They were officially living together.
“I’ll take that smile as a yes.”
Isabel felt her face flush as she broke out of her daze. “I’m sorry.” God, she had to stop doing that. It was so embarrassing. “No, no big plans. But it is my day off. I’d like to spend some of it relaxing.”
“I gotcha.” He smiled.
When they got to the food court, he let her pick. She chose the fastest—a slice of pizza. Jacob seemed to sense her anxiety about being with him. He had to understand this was awkward for her. Even if it was for him as well, at least he wasn’t in a relationship now. She appreciated that he kept the small talk at a safe level, but just as they walked out of the food court on their way back to finish passing out the flyers he asked, “Are you in love with him, Bell?”
She turned to him surprised by the out-of-nowhere question.
“I’m sorry. It’s just that Pat said she didn’t think you two were very serious, and to be honest I wasn’t quite ready for what I felt when I saw you again. I was just hoping…”
Isabel glanced away. She was going to strangle Pat the very next time she saw her. “It is serious, Jacob, and I am in love with him. In fact, he’s moved in with me now. Pat…” Isabel took a deep breath. “Well, she doesn’t know too much about it—about him.”
“She said he’s a security guard?”
Isabel rolled her eyes. Of course Pat would tell him that. “He’s a private investigator and he owns his own security firm.” That’s right. If Pat was going to go around listing everyone else’s attributes she’d list Romero’s. She was very proud of them.
Things were a bit uncomfortable after that. Pat had told Isabel that Jacob said he’d missed her, but she never expected him to mention how he’d felt when he saw her. Pat had set him up for that. Probably put it in his head that she might still have feelings for him as well. God, Isabel was going to let her have it.
Romero had texted her several times throughout the day, mostly to ask how it was going and to tell her he missed her. He had a few things he needed to take care of that day, but lately he’d been trying to leave her days off open.
She was on her way home—finally. He was already there waiting for her. She walked in to find him unpacking a few boxes. “I went by my old place,” he said, with a smirk. “To pick up some more of my things.”
She took her shoes off, remembering how Valerie used to fling hers off as soon as she walked in. Romero was her new roomie now. What a difference. One she never would have imagined.
“So how was it?” Romero asked, pulling out a pair of shoes from the box and examining them. “What did you do?”
“Passed out flyers… at the mall.” She kissed him as she passed by him to put her shoes in her room.
“Zat right?” She heard him from her room. “You should’ve told me. I would’ve met you down there and helped you.”
She squeezed her eyes shut just before she turned the corner to walk back into the front room. “I wasn’t alone.”
He looked up from the box and their eyes met. The easygoing expression faded slowly. “Oh yeah? Who went with you?”
She swallowed and started toward the fridge like a coward, not wanting to face him when she said it. “Jacob and I were assigned to flyer—”
“You were with Jacob all this time?”
She turned back to him at the sound of his venomous tone. “We just passed flyers out, Romero. It’s not like—”
“Did your fucking sister arrange this?”
“Hey! What happened to toning it down?”
“You know she did.” He walked toward her that undeniable heat in his eyes again. “Just like she planned for him to sit at your family’s table that night—next to you. Don’t you see it?”
“Yes. I see it.”
He stood right in her face. “So did you and Jacob get a chance to catch up, Isabel? Talk about old times?”
“Don’t call me that. I already told you I hate hearing it from you.”
“Why? It’s your name.”
She felt a lump forming in her throat. She hated to see him—hear him like this. The tears were already blurring her vision. “Because you only call me that when you’re mad at me.”
“Not mad at you. Alright what do you want me to call you? Bell? Oh wait, that’s what he fucking calls you.” He spun around and stalked back toward the front room. She saw him glance around almost panicked then he saw them—his keys on the coffee table. He grabbed them.
“Where you going?”
“Out.” He glanced at his watch then back at her with a fury worse than earlier. “You know what? Fuck that.” He slammed the keys back on the table, making her flinch. She saw him wince then, close his eyes for a second as if trying to collect himself. His now fisted hand almost shook and he spoke through his teeth. “You were with your ex-boyfriend all day, Isabel. So what did you talk about? I wanna know.”
Seeing him so enraged and hearing him call her that again made the lump in her throat even bigger. “About the campaign, mostly.”
“Mostly? What else? Did he bring up the past? You and him?”
“No!” Her voice cracked and she took a step toward him. “It was all business. I promise.” She never wanted to be around Jacob again. Not if it upset Romero this much. She reached out for his hand and he recoiled but she grabbed it anyway. It was shaking. She looked into his eyes. They went from furious to panicked. Just like the night she’d told him Jacob had been her first. “What’s wrong with you?”
“Tell me the truth, Izzy. Did you talk about anything personal? I have to know.”
Hearing him call her Izzy, and feeling his scared eyes burn deep into her soul did something to her. “Yes.”
He pinched his brows the panic gone now replaced with the heat again. “What? What did you talk about?”
“You.” She brought his hand to her mouth and kissed it. “He asked if I was in love with you. And I told him yes and that you’d moved in with me.”
“Why would he wanna know?”
She shook her head. “I don’t know.”
“You do know, Izzy.” His tone, softened just a notch and again his eyes searched for something deep inside her. “Tell me, baby.”
Hearing him call her that after he’d just called her Isabel twice had a hypnotic effect on her somehow and he seemed to know it. But it was working. She nodded, unbelievably hearing herself say, “Something about not being prepared for what he felt when he saw me again.”
She saw his jaw clench. “And what was that?”
“He didn’t say. I swear to you. After I told him I was in love and how serious my relationship with you is, we changed the subject.”
“That’s it? The whole day. That was the only personal thing you talked about?” He searched her eyes again. “No memories?”
“No. Nothing.” She leaned in and kissed him. He barely moved his lips at first, but she continued to kiss him until he suddenly thrust his tongue in her mouth, kissing her hard.
Just as suddenly he pulled away. “I don’t want you around him anymore,” he said, bringing her to him by her waist.
“Okay,” Isabel agreed breathlessly, without even thinking about it. What was he doing to her?
He kissed her again, deeper, then bit her lower lip hard, but not hard enough to hurt, arousing her to no end. She bit back. His breathing became heavier. “Tell that fucking sister of yours,” he said, between kisses, “that I know what she’s up to.”
“Um hmm.” Isabel was incredibly turned on, and she didn’t even understand why. She didn’t care anymore that he was disrespecting her sister. Pat had disrespected him, so she deserved it. She undid the top button of his jeans and yanked down the zipper.
They moved over to the sofa. Romero pushed his box of things onto the floor. He always did love her easy-access clothes and ever since he’d told her, she’d done her best to accommodate. She wore a denim skirt that he slid his hands up now, pulling her panties down roughly. “Get ‘em off.” He pulled his hands away to take his wallet out of his pocket and pulled a condom out. “I’m not playing, Izzy.” Never once taking his penetrating gaze away from her, he pulled his jeans down and stepped out of them, then put the condom on. “I swear to God. If you don’t tell her, I will. And trust me you don’t want me to.”
She nodded, transfixed in his eyes, not really caring about what he was saying. It was times like this she felt he had some kind of spell on her. She’d done as he asked and was ready for him when he moved on top of her. He kissed her just as he entered her—kissed her so deep and with so much passion, she felt it down to her curled toes. “No one else will ever love you like I do, Izzy.” He moved faster and she moaned. “You know that, right?”
“Yes,” she barely managed to say, feeling her body react in the usual way it reacted to him—crazy with excitement.
“Say it, baby. Say no one will ever love you like I do.” Her entire body trembled and she moaned even louder. “I wanna hear it.” His voice rasped.
“No one else.” She could barely believe she’d complied so easily, but it was the truth. She wasn’t lying. She believed him without a doubt. “Only you can love me like this.” He stared deep in her eyes for a moment, continuing to love her like only he could. She held on to him, amazed at what he did to her. If what he wanted was to own her, he had from the moment he first kissed her. Not just physically but in every way imaginable. She was a sensible grown woman and if she stepped out of the picture for just a second, she might see something wrong with it, but there, that moment, nothing felt more right than being his, and she wanted nothing more than for him to know it—feel it.
He squeezed his eyes shut, finishing with a groan. “Only you, Romero,” she panted, feeling the incredible pleasure rip through her body. No one could ever make her feel the unbelievable mixture of emotions he’d put her through this evening alone and she never wanted anyone else to. “I promise.”